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Irish language equality campaign will continue - Ó Donnghaile

4 December, 2014

Sinn Féin councillors Niall Ó Donnghaile and Caoimhín Mac Giolla Mhín have said Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for equality for the Irish language. 

Speaking after a High Court decision on a judicial review into Belfast City Council's policy on Irish language street signs, the councillors said; 

"We are very disappointed at the judgement passed by Justice Horner today. 

"It is our view and indeed the view of the majority of Irish speakers that the current Belfast City Council policy on dual language street signs is unfair. 

"For the judge to suggest that the erection of an Irish language street sign in the heart of Ballymurphy, a community with a thriving Irish language sector, would be 'divisive' is further evidence of the ignorance, which exists in relation to An Ghaeilge. 

"The current position of the council is to obtain a two thirds majority of respondents who have been contacted with non-responses automatically taken as a 'no'. 

"In our view this is not conducive to the spirit of the European Charter as adopted by council many years ago. 

"We would encourage those neighbourhoods who want to see their linguistic and cultural richness reflected to continue to lobby council and utilise the current system. 

"It is fitting that next week Irish speakers and supporters of cultural respect & diversity will rally at Stormont on International Human Rights Day because ultimately this is a rights-based issue. 

"Today's judgement, which we regard as ill conceived and unfair, further highlights the ongoing failure by the state to recognise and support the development of the language as enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement.  

"It also underlines the urgent need for the adoption of an Irish Language Act which will make clear the statutory commitments of all levels of government." 

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